Repeat attack fear as killer dogs let free

File shot of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the same breed which killed a cat in Buckingham Park
File shot of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the same breed which killed a cat in Buckingham Park
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An RSPCA inspector is concerned two Staffordshire Bull Terriers which mauled a cat to death are being allowed to stay with their owner.

The dogs, Alby and Lula, fatally injured tabby cat Marley in an attack in the Wood White Drive area of Buckingham Park in December.

They had previously attacked another cat, Jaffa, in the same area.

At Milton Keynes Magistatres’ Court, owner Nicola Doherty, of Chalkhill Blue Close, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat following Marley’s death.

In what was described as an ‘unusual’ move the court deferred sentencing until January 20, 2014, on the condition Alby and Lula must be kept muzzled and under control in public until then.

Chief inspector Rob Hartley of the RSPCA said it was a ‘worrying’ move to allow Doherty to keep the dogs while a sentence is decided.

Mr Hartley said: “I don’t think this type of sentence benefits anybody because there is a chance that someone or something could be injured or killed in the intervening months.

“It’s down to the owner to not let this happen again and sometimes, even with the best will in the world, people fail.”

Doherty, 47, was out walking her dogs off the lead near Wood White Drive when they ran away from a field they were in to nearby houses.

There they found Marley and attacked him near his home.

The attack was seen by Marley’s owner.

The cat suffered numerous injuries including fractured ribs and torn muscles before he died.

RSPCA inspector Andy Eddy said: “This may not have been something that was intended to happen, but as the dogs had attacked a cat before and their owner still failed to keep them on leads, it was always possible that they would do the same again.

“It was incredibly upsetting for Marley’s owner and caused him tremendous pain and suffering and I hope this serves as a reminder to people that they cannot allow their animals to be dangerously out of control.”

Mr Hartley said the same thing could easily have happened to a child. He said: “It doesn’t matter what sort of dogs they are, any dog that is left loose could jump up and bite or injure a child or another animal.”

One punishment could be to ban Doherty from having animals, although Mr Hartley said he was unsure if this would happen as she had not caused harm to her own pets.

The case comes as the Government considers changing the law so owners of dogs that attack and kill someone could face life in prison, something Mr Hartley said the RSPCA would support if it got people to take more care.